The anti-gay marriage Summer for Marriage Tour 2010 rolled Tuesday into Trenton, where the issue of gay marriage is back in court.

The campaign, sponsored by the National Organization for Marriage (NOM), the nation's most vociferous opponent of gay marriage, kicked off last week in Augusta, Maine and is expected to make stops in 23 eastern cities before docking in Washington D.C. on August 15.

In Maine, Governor John Baldacci joined NOM counter demonstrators at the Statehouse. Baldacci signed a gay marriage law approved by lawmakers last year. But opponents, backed by NOM, campaigned to put the law on the ballot and voters vetoed the law in November.

Baldacci is term limited and will move out of the Governor's Mansion in January.

Maine's next governor will either be strongly in favor of gay marriage or strongly against it. Democrat Libby Mitchell has pledged to sign a gay marriage bill, while her Republican opponent, Paul LePage, says he “supports traditional marriage” on his campaign website. A July 14 Rasmussen poll found LePage ahead of his opponent with an 8 point lead.

Over the weekend, the bus tour rolled into Providence, Rhode Island, where about 175 counter demonstrators clashed with an estimated 150 gay marriage foes on the Statehouse lawn.

Gay activists chanted, “Get your hate out of our state,” as they attempted to shout down NOM's speakers.

NOM President Brian Brown said the activists “simply went crazy.”

“I've never seen anything like it,” he wrote on the group's blog. “The hatred was palpable. It was an embarrassment to their cause – I only hope the word gets out, so people can see how nuts they were.”

Lawmakers in Rhode Island have debated a gay marriage bill for 13 years in row.

A large road block to marriage equality in the state has been Republican Governor Don Carcieri, who, along with his wife Sue, is a member of the local chapter of NOM.

Leading candidates for governor – former U.S. Senator Lincoln Chafee and State Treasurer Frank Caprio – have pledged their support for a gay marriage bill.

In New Jersey, the issue of gay marriage is headed back to court after a drive to legalize the institution fizzled in the state Senate last year. A trio of back-to-back wins for gay marriage opponents – repeal of Maine's gay marriage law by voters, the New York Senate's rejection of a similar measure and the New Jersey election of Governor Chris Christie, an opponent of gay marriage – persuaded on-the-fence lawmakers to vote against the bill, despite strong support on the issue from the public.

The loss prompted gay marriage activists to return to the state Supreme Court that struck down the state's ban on gay marriage and paved the way for civil unions.

There was no showdown in Trenton. Marriage equality supporters instead kept their distance, crowding into a committee room in the Statehouse Annex.

“Outside is a message of hate and prejudice,” Steven Goldstein, chairman of Garden State Equality, the state's largest gay rights advocate and a leading group lobbying for passage of a gay marriage bill, said.

About 80 people gathered at the Statehouse for NOM's rally, the Star-Ledger reported.

NOM President Brown said the tour stopped in New Jersey because he fears “judicial activism” from the state's highest court.

“What if Martin Luther King Jr. would have listened to those who tried to silence and tell him that his faith has no place in the public square – that he should be silent?” Brown said. “You are a part of a new civil rights group – a civil rights group dedicated to protecting the most fundamental and basic institution known to mankind: marriage.”

Bishop John M. Smith of the Catholic Diocese of Trenton also spoke to the crowd: “Standing for the truth of marriage does not deny the rights or equal dignity of human persons; rather it stands for the rights of husbands and wives.”

The bus rolls into Annapolis, Maryland on Wednesday.